Corobrik’s quality face bricks

Old boy brings new life to Joburg school buildings using Corobrik’s quality face bricks

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The timelessness of Corobrik’s face brick range has allowed for the subtle fusion of old and new in the elegant construction of St David’s Marist Inanda’s new boarding house and multi-sports facility, officially opened in November 2018.

The project, which started in late 2016, involved the construction of a much-needed, multi-sports’ development for swimming, water polo, tennis and basketball. Alongside this is the new boarding house which will see the reintroduction of boarders to the Joburg school for the first time since the 1970s. Housing 41 boys and four masters, this forms the part of a larger expansion project that will offer more learners a second home on the Sandton school grounds.

Musa Shangase, Corobrik’s Commercial Director, said the visionary use of Corobrik’s face bricks in the new boarding house showcase the versatile nature of the clay products: “As a standalone, the new building is incredibly captivating, creating a sense of home while also connecting with the school’s legacy in form and material. The building also fits in seamlessly with the surrounding historical structures. It’s a magnificent example of the unique aesthetic of face brick as well as the brick’s durable nature in structure and design.”

Established in 1941, St David’s Marist Inanda has a strong historical legacy that needed to be echoed throughout the new developments. Tim Johnson, principal architect at Greenspace Studio and an Old Boy of St David’s was the perfect fit for the innovative projects.

“During the first conversation with the school, it was decided that the projects should blend in with the existing buildings – many of them heritage buildings – while bringing in a contemporary feel,” explains Johnson. “Corobrik’s Montana Travertine face bricks were the perfect choice to create an uninhibited aesthetic flow.”

Corobrik’s face bricks are cleverly used as feature elements throughout the multi-sports’ facility. The monolithic concrete grandstands and galvanised steel members introduce new, hardy finishes to the harsh environment of the pool, while white plaster contrasts against Corobrik’s red face brick and clean arches, all of which were influenced by the school’s existing geometries and aesthetic. 

A mere six metres away, the deep hues of Corobrik’s face brick are once again picked up in the new boarding establishment. Brickwork arches are a quintessential feature throughout the school and Greenspace Studio aimed to sustain this notable feature by incorporating a traditional masonry arch in the boarding house and slicker, more contemporary arches in concrete and face brick for the multi-sports facility.

Using an existing residential structure, the central living rooms remain but have been consolidated to form the common area, with bedrooms branching outwards towards the exterior. The double-volume common area connects the two floors while a circular passage links the bedrooms, reading space, study and four separate house masters’ accommodations in an exposed arrangement to the ground floor.

The inviting, homely ethos underpinning the unique design of the boarding house was carefully mirrored in the chosen building materials. The common area with exposed rafters creates a light, fun space for the boarders and this wooden material, also found in the bedroom bay windows, softens the overall feel. Planted façade elements combined with stark face brick geometries create an interesting contrast, while internally, the steel balustrades and large openings provide a transparency that allows for constant visibility.

“We wanted the boarding house to have a sense of life and movement,” explained Johnson. “This all-encompassing environment allows for the free interaction of the various parts of daily life on campus.

“The school cares deeply for its history and these new buildings are a representation of both past and future. This was our design intention and I am delighted that we have achieved this.”

Speaking at the annual Foundation Cocktail Evening, a trustee of the St David’s Marist Foundation, Gianni Mariano, said the new buildings appear to have been there for 100 years, blending into the surrounds.

Executive Headmaster, Mike Thiel, commented: “It was important for us to reflect our ethos, which is underpinned by strong Marist values, whilst remaining educationally relevant. The materials used in these new facilities reflect a strength and solidity, whilst their form invites participation and engagement with the space and enjoyment of them. Watching our boys ‘inhabit’ these spaces has been a wonderful experience.”

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